Being a parent is a full-time job. However, thanks to the on-going pandemic, teaching academics is a new job many parents are adding to their to-do lists. Typically, teachers have lesson plans prepared weeks and months in advance and are able to implement them in the classroom for all twenty or more students. Attempting to put together a plan of how to teach your child at home quickly becomes overwhelming. While the world struggles to find a way to completely eradicate this new disease, there are ways to manage turning your home into a classroom. Understand that each day may look different from the next, and the whole transition will feel disorganized and messy at times. This will not be perfect, and that is just fine.
Students and teachers will also use applications like Zoom to communicate with one another. While it may seem like a good way for the teacher to instruct his or her students, it is also important for the students to still socialize with one another. Seeing each other and getting to converse will help the students still feel connected to each other without having to be in person. While social time at school may seem unimportant, building social skills is vital to moving forward with all kinds of relationships throughout one’s life. Allowing your child the opportunity to use Zoom, Skype, or FaceTime to simply talk with friends will be important throughout this strange time.
Having to figure out how to parent and teach at the same time is difficult, especially when it is unexpected . However, using the aforementioned tips should help make the transition to at-home learning easier on both you and your child. Everyone is learning how to completely modify what they knew how to do before to what they need to do now. Be patient with yourself and your student, and you will both figure out how to easily change your home into a classroom. For further tips on how to teach at home, look for some trusted resources and try not to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information out there !
With this, I think adding normalcy makes sense too. For example, in preschool, there is circle time with a calendar and the weather etc. Kids are little people with emotions too, and things that feel familiar can make them more comfortable with the situation. I like this link https://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/family-life/structure-routines tthat shows that it provides security. We could add in Maslov’s Hierarchy of needs here too: https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html. That they need security as a basic need.
Important here too is to allow for the flexibility that learning at home allows. Having a rough day and need to focus more on learning about emotions and baking cookies? We all need emotional and mental health days- and all of those can be learning experiences too. Cooking is science and math- easily! https://www.escoffier.edu/blog/culinary-pastry-careers/how-chefs-make-use-of-math-and-science-in-the-kitchen/#:~:text=Math%20%26%20Science%2C%20Meet%20Kitchen,ingredients%20to%20make%20appealing%20meals.&text=They’re%20relying%20on%20key,measurement%20to%20ratios%20to%20conversions.
I like to keep my morning check-in as until lunch and another for the afternoon. Things can change alot during the day and being able to pivot is a nice thing to be able to do with learning from home. I also let him self-guide his day by offering choices during these- do you want to do this or this? And if he says “What about…” then I consider it. Last week we were taking a walk and he asked if we could gather things on the walk to look at under a microscope. That wasn’t my plan for the day, but he was so inspired and excited by it that I had to roll with it- and it was so autthentic that it stuck with him, instead of being forced onto him.
I think we need to add something here about how this is very dependent on the age. For example, we work on our letters and writing at the table, but something we do our rhyming on a walk. Or puzzles outside instead of inside on a nice day. Or learning gravity and speed with his toy cars on the floor instead of at a table. If your kiddo is doing virtual learning, they obviously have different requirements of how long they have to be online etc. Homeschooling and virtual schooling are different! The rules of homeschooling differ by state (check yours out!) and virtual schooling has its own expectations.
Encourage them to or help them set up a video chat with a friend. They can play games like a scavenger hunt or play with their toys ttogether. My son’s best friend and him like to show each other what they are playing with that day and it is so sweet. Anotther tthing to feel closer is to have them draw pictures and write letters to mail to their friend. Or sending them a gift.
Another tool we use, is that we all talk about what we miss. So that the child knows he/she isn’t alone and abnormal for feeling this way. So I talk about how I miss making candles and having dinner with my friend Laura. And how I miss going to restraurants. He tthen lists what he misses etc. Then we follow up with what we have enjoyed while being home. I enjoy the extra cuddles etc. It really helps center us.
I think this can be built out a little for homeschool as well. Search websites like Teachers Pay Teachers for learning activity ideas. Stores like Lakeshore Learning have kits if your child shows intterest in a specific topic thtat you’d like to explore more. There are loads of videos and simulatitons online.
I am not sure how I feel giving the advice about Google classroom etc. I have no experience with this- I’m wondering if it might be important to note that everyone is scrambling right now. Teachers were prepared to teach in person, not like this. Something about empathy for everyone involved. And remembering that children mimic adultts- so they tend to handle it as well as you are.
Perhaps adding something about even more difficult if you are workign full time. It will take time to hit a groove and it will never be perfect because it is a temporary plan, that was sudden and unplanned, in a chaotic time where our basic needs are having difficulty being met.
Highly recommend joining facebook groups dedicated to these topics, tthey help guide you away from the noise!